|Chlorine-free pool||Infinity plunge pool|
|Naturally recycled water||Sumatra body polish|
|Solar panels||Private outdoor hot tubs|
|Yak herds||Yak carpaccio|
Former newspaper publisher Tom Worrell Jr. wants to save the world, one platinum card at a time.
For the last two years, Worrell has promoted an eco-luxe philosophy through his El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa in Taos, N.M.
“Eco-luxe” sounds a little like fat-free ice cream — a nice idea, but one that always falls short. However, Worrell sees no conflict between opulence and ecology.
El Monte Sagrado has all the accoutrements you’d expect from a destination spa, with packages that have names like Sacred Time and Katrafay Detoxifying Body Treatment.
And no one’s staying in tents; rooms feature oversized rain showerheads and private gardens, and are furnished with artifacts from Worrell’s world travels as well as local artisans.
The difference is in the details. All water used at the resort is recycled, and Worrell believes El Monte will produce all of its own power within five years.
Some caviar with your yak?
The resort’s restaurant, De la Tierra, also makes an effort to be self-sustaining. It’s one of just 10 eateries in America that serve yak, raised on Worrell’s 6,800-acre Latir Mountain Ranch.
For those who prefer a less Tibetan dish, De la Tierra serves Beluga caviar with iced tequila and halibut encrusted with local pine nuts. This year, its wine cellar received a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
The restaurant also hosts the Taos School of Cooking, which donates profits to support a nonprofit private school, the Yaxche Learning Center, which Worrell founded in 1998.
Ultimately, Worrell’s resort seems less like an indulgence and more like an enormous experiment in green living that can be backed only by people willing to pay up to $1,300 a night.
However, he says sustainability is not what makes the resort pricey.
“El Monte Sagrado is expensive because it was designed to be. We designed it to be as elegant and luxurious as we possibly could to compete with the very best in the world. It was meant to influence the influencers — to show that luxury does not have to be sacrificed to be sustainable and kind to the Earth.”